The Bakkum Gallery Series

The Bakkum Gallery Series was performed at a reading on a lovely sunny weekend in mid October 2018. At the invitation of artists, Marina Pronk, and Sabrina Tacci, I read aloud these poems to an audience of artists, musicians, friends, patrons and passersby from the street. The old brick house at Van Oldenbarneveldweg 32 seemed to transcend into the unseasonably warm autumn sun. There was a special kind of air around; the kind of air that the bricks and glass and echoing walls seem to be made for; the kind of air that shapes events into memories. The following poems were read here on this day, in this order, walking from room to room, inside and outside the house. The words and paintings and photos and music were complimentary and harmonious. Arranged by the artists, and I (the poet) and accompanied by saxophonist, Jack de Jong. We all walked among the paintings, sculptures, photos, vistas, rooms, and gardens to inspire ourselves toward the mystical healings of arts, words, colors, light sounds and friendship. Here are those poems, now a simple souvenir:



Glass is both transparent and reflective.

The city is filled with glass windows. 

Sometimes one can’t tell the shop displays from the front living room. 

The lines of openness and privacy is marked by small indications of transparency.


Take a look. 

Imagine yourself in these clothes, in this life, with this watch, these objects stacked around you.

These smells, lines, designs, books, soaps and hairstyles are meant to become part of you;

The whole city feeds your little piece of identity.


What should the glass do? Project? Reflect? 

Let in the summer sun to age the things it touches,

taking back the things it has forged back.


Glass is here to be looked through

as the subtle observation of the passing season;

to remain flat against one view,

to keep out the rain and wind and time;

to break against a forceful gesture. 


Glass is the observation itself,

remaining a neutral and innocent messenger.

If it could speak, it would say, “just look.”



There are ways to encourage the moment. 

Sometimes we begin the story in the middle 

without thinking about the surrounding edges of ourselves; 

where we were before, or where we are going next. 

There is meaning somewhere in our DNA.

Not quite accidental and not quite destined.

It is important to recognize the moment; 

to slow down just enough not to lose momentum. 

There is a point of contact

somewhere between what is the self,

and what is everything else. 

We make our changes

within the lines of these references.

Validation is not judgement,

it happens when we hold up the flag of self-

listening to the world blowing past.


Someone wants a check mark on their truth.

Someone wants to be listened to instead of told to.


We make our mark on the world,

listening to the oncoming voices;

measuring the times and distances between our activities.

Life is both insane and tempered;

both fleeting and permanent.

Validation is a strange way to be;

to curiously check our progress;

to catch up with a world of expectations, 

and then throw them all out

before taking off on our own.


When I can’t sleep, which has been often,

I look to the world outside the window. 

The moon, casting some temporary permanence

on the human condition;

shining in the eyes of my temporal anxiety.

To a Friend whose work has come to nothing

-William Butler Yeats

Now all the truth is out,

Be secret and take defeat

From any brazen throat,

For how can you compete,

Being honor bred, with one

Who were it proved he lies

Were neither shamed in his own

Nor in his neighbors' eyes;

Bred to a harder thing

Than Triumph, turn away

And like a laughing string

Whereon mad fingers play

Amid a place of stone,

Be secret and exult,

Because of all things known

That is most difficult.


To a Friend, whose work is never nothing


The dark days slowly return, and we might reach inward;

hoping for some relieving rain.

I feel hurried.

In my thoughts there is supposed to be sun,

but the clouds come in fast and low,

and the rain blows sideways under the shelter of the train station. 

Today time is everywhere, but I am late to it.

Anxiety moves everything to nothing.

I look at the clock- the timetable -the messages

Each task is marked.


On the train, I stare out the window, 

noticing that we all move at different paces 

and through different tasks.

We forget that the rain and wind are the materials which make us.

The changing world backdrops my thoughts with atmosphere.

In a place of stone, because of all things unknown, 

difficulty is temporary.

In the Studio              

-for Sabrina


There are some things that disappear with time and energy-

the motion of our souls carries onward and upward. 


We build tall towers toward heaven 

and there is a breakdown of compassion

when we’ve come a long way to feel so disappointed. 


We might feel amiss in our evolution. 

We might feel the tidal waves of erosion crashing forward. 

There was an expectation when we were young,

we thought that we might make choices

that would move us into who we thought we were.


It is important to feel that our lives are going somewhere important. 


This naïve contemplation comes forward into fruition,

but the world already knows itself too well.


We were born into the middle of the story, with zillions of decisions around to manipulate our fate.



In the Mini Bioscoop

-for Marina


We were born into the middle of the story, with zillions of decisions around to manipulate our fate.


There is something temperamental about the wind and the manner in which our time flows down and away into the rushing gorge.


Earth’s systems mirror our internal deliberation.


We go outside to see the world;

to find a mirror of our identity.


What is important might lose itself in the rush.


We might prefer to be alone;

to manipulate the language of the world

in order to fit our particular points

and to unfurl our loneliness.


We move through life to escape and affirm all directions.

The coded firmness and faintness of the internalized voice.

Weekend Getaway

            -for Corey


Remember when we had time to get away,

when neighbors banded together

for a long haul over a wild mountain,

where men and women forged

their history and struggles in common.


What if we could drive away and never look back.

Retreat to a mountain edge from the working world,

and cry silent tears to an indescribable overlook.


Nature takes her time to carve out a glacial canyon

and we open our eyes to its majesty, only for a beat.

We turn our backs to the view for a selfie.

Desperate for a getaway,

to fill the chalice with some fleeting rest.


Demons prefer to wrestle for the heart of the city,

pillaging for gold in towers bigger than their names.

We set our dynamite to siphon off a mineral or two.

We don’t ask for mercy till we see it fall in flames.

The rest is left in dust.

What if… we all saw things differently 


There was a tipping point of light

as we came up into the botanical gardens. 


We sought to bring our voices together for a few moments,

and we all took the light into our own eyes.


The plants were fragrant,

dancing into one balmy temperature. 


Under the glass ceiling,

there were tropical lily pads the size of end tables

with thick symmetrical leaves,

which spread over green water.


Walking from tropic -to desert -to mountain top -to forest through single paned doors;

each visitor checks that they are not in a dream.


The air changes abruptly in each sample,

and roots twist around corners in unfamiliar patterns.


I see a drizzling waterfall,

which I may want to walk behind,

into the world itself.


The special effect made whole

by the daylight and the slow rotation of Earth.




The self is moving through its own set of circumstances.

The thought of waiting stalls the internal movement.

Expectation is unmatched with the movement of the body.

What would happen if I stood up this very moment

and began to walk;

Not “away from”

Not “toward”

Not with expectation or purpose.

I walk for the sake of walking.

What would my body tell me outside of: stop, eat or rest?


Waiting implies a pause in movement.

I journey forward towards things that will move me faster.

I want to be inside the world which I have created for myself.

The key in my pocket to my own things.

The self is a ghost of me doing things.

The me who cooks and writes and drifts away during sleep.

The me who grows tired of myself.

The me who judges the body that is also me.

Waiting is an opportunity for silence.

The opportunity for all the “me’s” to exist at once. 

Het Zelf De means “the same”; the self of me.


Life encourages life- the waiting is some alternate formula to check into the self- a glitch- an unmatched arrow of oneness.